WooCommerce Store Development

WooCommerce Store Development: A Comprehensive Guide

Considering starting a new online store? If so, then you will likely already have heard of WooCommerce. If you’re new to eCommerce, finding the right platform can be tough. On top of that, you may not know what to look for in a suitable eCommerce platform.

This article will cover everything you’ll want to know about WooCommerce website, how to install the platform, and how you can set your online store up for success.

What is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce has quickly become one of the most prominent eCommerce platforms and a flagship WordPress product. To put it simply, WooCommerce is an eCommerce solution plugin that can transform a traditional website into an online store.

It’s a free, open-source WordPress plugin that was launched back in September 2011, designed primarily for small to large-sized businesses. By default, WordPress is a dynamic blogging custom solutions.

When you choose to install WooCommerce, you can transform your basic WordPress dashboard into a fully-functional online store. WooCommerce has built a stellar reputation for its ease of use and simplicity.

As one of the most eCommerce solutions available, WooCommerce site currently powers more than five million services online stores on the internet. Originally, you would have to use platforms like BigCommerce, Shopify, Magento to create an online store instead of a website.

WordPress entered the eCommerce industry with its own flagship plugin to compete against these existing solutions. However, how did WooCommerce grow to its current stage of popularity?

Why did WordPress acquire WooCommerce and what was the platform’s history before this acquisition? Like the other eCommerce giants, WooCommerce has a storied history, which you’ll find out more below.

WooCommerce’s Brief History

WooCommerce began as a component of Jigoshop, which was another eCommerce platform on WordPress. WooCommerce core, however, began to stand out and became a top-seller for its parent company, WooThemes.

In fact, WooCommerce generated eight-figure revenues in its early days. Now, WordPress powers 21% of the top million websites on the internet. As a result, Automattic, the parent company of WordPress, acquired WooThemes for about $30 million in 2015.

Below, you’ll learn everything you need to know about building an online store with WooCommerce. You will also learn about what makes WooCommerce special, how to install and set up the plugin for your store, and how to create WooCommerce products and important pages for your shop.

Benefits of Using WooCommerce

We would be remiss to not include the benefits of using WooCommerce in this guide. With that said, here are a bunch of reasons why you should consider using the platform for your online store:

  • Low Cost — One of the greatest benefits of using WooCommerce is that it’s completely free of charge. You can create a fully-functional online store without paying anything. While you’ll still need to pay for certain functions, your final bill will pale in comparison to other eCommerce functionality solutions. WooCommerce is free to install, but you can rest assured you won’t pay much to set the plugin up.
  • Massive Features — You can sell both physical and digital goods on WooCommerce. This plugin can also process a wide variety of affiliate products, digital downloads, colors, sizes, and other product variations. You can also configure your own custom options for payment and shipping, as well as use a detailed reporting module.
  • Secure & User-Friendly — WooCommerce can integrate with any WordPress theme, and is scalable, customizable, and highly secure. For developers, WooCommerce has its own proprietary API system that is regularly updated with advanced security features on a regular basis.
  • Scalable — WooCommerce is a very popular plugin. As such, the plugin offers a full suite of extensions, such as shipping providers, recurring subscriptions, memberships, and additional payment gateways. You can even find additional WooCommerce plugins to make your online store more functional.

How to Install WooCommerce: 4 Easy Steps

Since WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, you’ll need to own or create a WordPress site before continuing. Once you’re done, you can move on to these steps:

Step #1: Purchase a Web Hosting Package

The first thing you should do when creating a WordPress website is to buy a domain name and web server hosting service. You can choose to purchase and host your domain on WordPress or select any of the following providers:

  • GoDaddy
  • HostGator

There are dozens of hosting providers available, so you’ll definitely be able to find the right platform to suit your needs.

Step #2: Choose Your Domain Name

Once you’ve selected your web hosting provider, the next step is choosing your domain name. Keep in mind that your domain name must reflect the image of your store and match your brand name.

Also, keep your domain name as simple as possible and avoid using hyphens that can make it difficult for your audience to remember your website. For eCommerce websites, only use the .com extension.

For easier, all-in-one management, make sure to purchase your domain name from your hosting provider. There’s never a rush to decide on your domain name, so choose wisely.

Step #3: Install WordPress

Once you’ve purchased your hosting package and existing domain name, you should receive an email with instructions on how to set up WordPress from your account. For most hosting providers, you’ll need to login into cPanel, which looks something like this:

Install WordPress

Step #4: Install WooCommerce

After your WordPress website is set up, you can download and install your WooCommerce plugin. Simply head to WordPress’ plugin repository and install the plugin.

Install WooCommerce

Once installed, activate the WooCommerce plugin to begin.

How to Setup WooCommerce

The first thing to remember when installing WooCommerce is that you can skip the configuration wizard and make your changes manually. If you’re not an experienced developer, it’s recommended that you instead complete the wizard to configure your basic pages and settings.

This tutorial will guide you to the basics of setting up your WooCommerce store:

Step #1: Fill Out Your Basic Information

Woocommerce Settings

The first thing the configuration wizard asks for is essential data about your online store. This includes information such as:

  • The country you’re based in
  • Your physical address
  • The currency you use
  • The physical or digital goods you plan to sell

You can also make the decision about whether you want to allow WooCommerce to track how your products are being used to make improvements. Once you’re done filling these details out, continue on to the next step.

Step #2: Set Up Payment Gateways

The next step entails setting up your payment gateways. This is how you’ll collect money from customers and funnel it to your bank account or any other external payment methods.

You can decide whether or not to use:

  • Stripe (credit/debit cards)
  • Paypal
  • Checks
  • Bank transfers
  • Cash

If you don’t see a preferable payment method, you can download plugins to extend these options.

Step #3: Configure Shopping

Once your payment gateways are set up, you’ll need to deal with shipping. You can set up shipping to resonate with your time zone and apply the necessary rates. Again, you can find more options with WordPress plugins.

Lastly, you’ll need to determine which measurements you want to use to calculate the dimensions and weight.

Need Help Building a WooCommerce Store

Building an eCommerce store is one thing. Making sure it’s a success is a completely different quest. If you need help in maximizing the awareness and revenue of your online store, we can help.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.

Ryan is the VP of Operations for DEV.co. He brings over a decade of experience in managing custom website and software development projects for clients small and large, managing internal and external teams on meeting and exceeding client expectations--delivering projects on-time and within budget requirements. Ryan is based in El Paso, Texas.
Connect with Ryan on Linkedin.
Ryan Nead